Backlinks and ranking
Backlinks, also named inbound links, reflects the popularity of a site and its audience. Matt Cutts was the member of the Google's SEO staff who communicates the most often on medias about the algorithm. He said in an interview published on the Stonetemple site, in Octobre 8, 2007:
"I would certainly say that the links are the primary way that we look at things now in terms of reputation."
The variable quality of inbound links
According to Matt Cutts, that leads the Webspam team of Google, a quality link has the following characteristics:
- It must have been given voluntarily.
- It is an editorial link in the body of the text, and to complete the text.
- It is pertinent: in connection with the topic of the article.
- It has an explicit anchor what said on what it point out.
- It is not malformed.
- It contains no artifice that could deceived about its nature.
- The connection is made because we want to let something known by his visitors.
These are links that are requested by those who provide elements of site such as templates for Wordpress for example. The author wants to have in a footer link on his site, and embeds the link in his template. Or they are links to friend sites.
These links obey to a general law, if they are not relevant, if they have nothing to do with the content of the blog, they have no value. Since October 2012, Webmaster Guidelines prohibit lots of footer links:
Links widely distributed in the footers are considered unnatural and part of a link scheme.
Google previously advised against reciprocal links. Then his record has been refined: it discourages excessive reciprocal links. But what is excessive?
If the links are not natural, and irrelevant, if you request a backlink when you make a link to a site, these interactions are considered excessive.
They are not if they are useful to visitors.
List of links prohibited by Google
In Guidelines to Webmasters, it is confirmed certain types of links considered unnatural can penalize a site:
- Too many exchange of links between sites. It is not clear what "too many" is, but if there are more reciprocal links than spontaneous links, it is certainly too many.
- Link placed in content but unrelated to this content. These are usually paid links in fact, but the principle is itself constestable.
- Link directory or bookmark sites of low quality. By low quality, it is assumed that there are sites which have little visits, often the same descriptions.
- Links automated.
- Links in footer on all pages. This is a recent addition to the list, if they are found too often, it is penalized.
- Signatures in forums with keywords. Nothing less natural since it is the webmaster himself who create these links. Generally, self-promotion is penalized.
- Links in forums. If they are not included in a text related to the site that is linked, they are considered spam and have the effect of penalizing the linked site. This is especially relevant to links in profile or in signature.
But these links are not a cause of penalty if they are in nofollow.
<span onClick="location.replace('http://www.example.com/')" />Anchor</ span>or with an image:
Disavowing backlinks is it a good practice?
There was a time when maximum backlinks on its site were wanted, regardless of the quality of these, but after the Penguin Update penalizing a site for an excess of bad links, the trend reversed and webmasters now want absolutely remove bad links to their site. Links are undesirable when there links from pages with objectionable content, or directories without visitors beside sites unrelated to yours, or paid links.
After Penguin thus a tool became indispensable: allowing a webmaster to delete (virtually) links to its site. It is now done, since October 17, 2012, this is part of Google Webmaster Tools.
This tool is not to be used by everyone, only those sites that were penalyzed by these bad links should use it.
If you are the webmaster of the site, you can find a partial list of inbound links through Google Webmaster Tools or with Bing Webmaster Tools. Otherwise, you can use tools in the Webmaster section.
See also: Some advice to how to get backlinks.